All our children learn. The uprooted will sing
of the root’s tearing. We draw the ocean-blue,
the yellow sun smiling over neat rows of waves,
old ships bobbing like toys in a bath—the Niña, the Pinta,
the slave ships that sailed in their shadows,
someplace off the page where a whip drives
the wind. Eyelids drawn taut, we are
educated. The stories unspool from our throats,
chain-links whose rattling we have taken
for voices—Yoruba, Igbo, Inca, Guaraní, each absence
of a name, each specter in the vision now passing
for sight. Who can see a face straight?
There’s grain in my reflection, and every beam of light
suspends the upturned dust of artifacts.
From glass shards, we make lenses to see farther
into blindness. The centuries vanish
at the point of their horizon, the sun so bright
we never saw the flares.